The CNMI’s Sean Lee and Jimin Woo are one step away from reaching the championship game in the boys U16 doubles event of the 2019 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships.
The duo moved to the semifinals after surviving a three-set playoff match against the Norfolk Islands’ Sam Cribb and Samoa’s Phillip Warren yesterday in Lautoka, Fiji. Lee and Woo eked out a 7-5 triumph in the first set, but missed a sweep when Cribb and Warren prevailed in the second, 7-5. The super-tiebreak third set was another close battle with the Commonwealth tandem winning, 10-5.
Lee and Woo will next face Tahiti’s Brandon Fong and Vaitea Molinier with a finals slot at stake in their duel today. Fong and Molinier marched into the semifinals following a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Kiribati’s Torua Boari and Fiji’ Daniel Kumar. The other Final Four pairing will have Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy and the Solomon Islands’ Junior Maki battling Tahiti’s Manovai Elie and Mohearii Polin, who topped the CNMI’s Sam Ryu and Guam’s Aidan Schembari, 6-0, 6-0, and the Federated States of Micronesia’s Deavyn Etscheit and Nolen Narruhn, 6-2, 6-2, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the boys U16 singles, Lee and Woo will have to part ways, as they square off in the quarterfinals today.
Lee reached the Round of 8 after sweeping all his three matches in pool play of Group B. He earned a perfect record in his pool after downing Boari yesterday, 6-4, 7-6 (6). Woo, on the other hand, earned a 2-1 record and placed second in Group D behind Molinier, who topped the CNMI bet in yesterday’s game, 6-3, 7-6 (4). Sam Ryu, the CNMI’s third bet in the division, missed the cut after finishing Group A in third place with his 1-2 card.
In other results, the Jeff Race-coached Commonwealth squad has two entries in the semifinals of the girls U14 doubles.
Hyejin Elliot teamed up with FSM’s Leilah Etscheit in beating Fiji’s Faazreen Fareen and Kiribati’s Ereti Tabekatarawa, 6-0, 6-1, to move to the Final Four against Tahiti’s Vaiani Dusserre-Valleaux and Samoa’s Roselyn Tupuola, who drew a bye and automatically made it to the semis of the upper half of the draw.
At the lower half, the CNMI’s Serin Chung and the Cook Islands’ Dreena Teapa will take on the latter’s compatriots Tea Akaiti Toa and Moana Une. Chung and Teapa won over Kiribati’s Emmanuela Masaai and Fiji’s Charlote Nicolaus, 6-4, 6-4, while Toa and Une prevailed against the CNMI’s Helen Kim and Guam’s Alicia Addison.
In the girls U14 singles, Elliot made the grade and will be playing in the quarterfinals against Tupuola. Elliot had a 1-1 record in pool play in Group A, whole Tupuola was the top finisher in Group C with her 3-0 mark.